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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  August 4, 2015 9:00am-11:01am EDT

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agreement. and in that time period, if we see anything going out the back door, iran is in violation of the agreement because they are not complying with the additional protocol which is to facilitate access. now that is the broad scope. let's talk specifics. what are we worried about? are we worried iran will be an underground enrichment facility? if they are, you can't get rid of it in 24 days. they are still worried about parchin. it is a pesky element, it doesn't go away easily and we still have facilities in kansas you can't go in the building. radiation and nuclear materials last a long time. but if you can't go in, you can't say it is a baby milk factory, we know what it is. and it is for us to decide, are they in compliance or not and because we can snap back sanctions there is no scenario that i can envision where iran will take the chance, it is
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okay. it is a small reprocessing facility and we won't play that game. so i don't want to be reassuring because when i talk to a nuclear engineer and they tell me that nuclear plant is perfectly safe i get nervous. there are things that can go wrong. there are things that iran could try. but we have spent years to negotiate this agreement to make sure if they try, we will catch them. and the chairman and people know this very well, the framework for north korea was four pages long. the agreement that george w. bush and donald rumsfeld and john bolton negotiated with the north koreans in 2005 for denuclearization with no provisions at all was five pages long. the treaty of mosque ow between bush and putin was three pages long. had no verification provisions and got 71 votes in the senate, all right. this is over 100 pages long. it is like no other
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nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated and signed. it pails only in compare an to the most detailed arms agreements with the soviet union and russia. and jim said we've done our homework. if we have done something -- doesn't quite capture it, we are open to understanding what that is and the constructive criticism but i think we're going to be giving a full-throated defense of what we believe is a very effective verification provision which makes sure not that iran won't try to cheat and we are not assuming they are going to comply, we are assuming they will try to cheat and we will catch them and that is what will keep them from trying to cheat. >> and richard savoy there in the middle. >> richard sofoy with the national trade council and a member of the barber iran here at the council. while we're on the subject of criticism of the deal, i think
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that everything that has been said in terms of the strength of the agreement in the nuclear space is accurate, is a good deal, is a win-win in terms of diplomacy as john limbert has defined diplomacy. the criticism that i worry about over the next 60 days in the body politic is you are giving iran over time -- over time all of this money with which to conduct the activities in the region that we put them on the state sponsor of terrorism list year after year after year. so i would be appreciative of your comment about that space. >> imsure you want to respond. i would like to talk about that for a second. >> good. >> so i'm confused by this argument.
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i'm deeply confused. for a couple of reasons. so it seems to me if you don't like iran, their terrorists, then you don't want them to have a nuclear weapon. so what is worse than iran involved in terrorism. iran involved in terrorism with a nuclear weapon. i'm not getting this. the other thing that doesn't work for me is so the argument goes we can't give them any of their own money back, we can't have any sanctions relief because they'll take a dollar and spend it on terrorism. what does that mean then? that means that the people are saying we can't have any nuclear agreement. because they are imagining there will be a nuclear agreement where iran does everything we want them to do on the nuclear and they get zero in return. they don't get any relief. i'm not aware of any agreement in the history of human kind that would work like that. so if you are saying we can't give any sanctions relieve because they'll use it for
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terrorism, you are essentially saying, no nuclear agreement, leave iran unconstrained, pursue a nuclear agreement. that is my opinion. you may have a different view. >> far be it from me to put word in jim's mouth. i think people are right to be concerned about iran's behavior because iran is not a state that does things that we like. iran threatens our neighbors, they threaten americans. they are holding american citizens. they are engaged in activities in countries that lead to real regional instability. we are not blind to that. barbara started with is this sort of turning a page. we are not assuming that iran changes its stripes. we are assuming they won't. we don't want them to have access to a nuclear weapon or the ability to get there quickly and we intend to increase our capability to challenge iran throughout the region because we do expect some of the money may enhance their activities. but the point i would make -- please, go ahead. >> thanks, john. >> and i would point out that
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iran is under the most crippling sanctions ever imposed on them. they are still conducting the activities. it is not a shortage of money preventing them from terrorism or setting -- sending arms to the houthi, they are doing that any way. so is there an in kremental risk, yes, there is a risk. and are we taking steps with allies to do that? yes. and we're going to do that when they are not hiding behind a nuclear shield. and there are stats coming out, a recent article talking about the defense spending in the region. about how much do they out spend iran? uae is 50% higher. so it is not just a money but a capability and sharing scheme. this is not just purely a money scheme, right? it's a capability scheme. it's an investment scheme. it's a sharing scheme. that's why secretary carter is going to the region. it's why we had the gulf leaders
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here for the camp david summit. it wasn't to say hey, we've got this great deal. you're going love it. it's how are we going to work together on missile defense. how are we going to work together on maritime interdiction? how are we going to work together on counterterrorism operations because we're expecting the neighborhood is going to be bad. because the neighborhood is bad. but it gets worse if they have got a nuclear program. >> wait for the microphone. >> thank you very much for the great discussion. this is from west asia council. i have a question for the panels. of all the joys and jubilations that we're getting clips of it from the streets of tehran and it's all young people out there impatiently waiting for the sanctions to be lifted. and with all these strong measures that have been put into this agreement to stop iran from making a nuclear bomb, it seems to me that this regime will be on a suicide mission if they do not comply with this agreement. they have a lot of answering to do to their own domestic population and also to the world. so i need your input on this.
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thank you. >> yeah, i might grab that one if i may as somebody who has been to iran a number of times. people say oh, it's the regime and the regime makes all the decisions. it's ayatollah khamenei. it's the supreme leader, that public opinion has nothing to do with it. this is not north korea. public opinion does have something to do with the policies undertaken by the government. yeah, they do a lot of things in the region that frankly most iranians don't support. they don't like to see their money going to syria and to lebanon and to iraq. they would like it spent at home. but in 2009, there was an earthquake in iran called the green revolution. the government stole an election to reelect ahmadinejad, and millions of people came out on the street to say where is my vote? even though the regime crushed the protest, it shook them to the core. so they made sure in 2013 when there was another presidential election, there was actually a
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reasonable choice of candidates, and in fact the most pragmatic individual, hassan rouhani won. and it's hassan rouhani and his team that have been able to negotiate this nuclear agreement. this is their second bite at the apple. they tried before and failed largely because of the lack of the foresight of the bush administration i would argue back when iran had no centrifuges spinning. this is their second time around, and they have succeeded. and they are well aware of popular sentiment. they know what sanctions have done. youth unemployment is extremely high. brain drain is extremely high. and hassan rouhani talks about giving hope to the youth. he talks about economic development. so while some of the billions of dollars that iran will receive from this deal wind up in the pocket of hezbollah or the popular mobilization units in iraq or bashar al assad? yes, of course it will. but i would argue that if this government wants to retain legitimacy, and remember what
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the supreme leader here is doing. he is making a pact with the great satan, with the font of global arrogance. and everyone knows this. if this system wants to continue beyond ayatollah khamenei, it will have to meet some of the aspirations of its people, i would argue. yes, ma'am? wait for the microphone, please and identify yourself. >> hello. thank you for a fascinating panel, and so timely. i'm barbara rome, israel bureau chief for defense news. a few questions. first of all, in parallel to the inspection regime that will be led by the iaea, is there any provision unilaterally for the administration to collect the best minds? i know you mentioned the labs and all that for the iaea, but in parallel to have experts seconded from the pentagon, state department, and the arms a control community to alleviate a lot of this inherent suspicion. and on another issue, the
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president gave an interview about a month ago to israel's channel 2 tv where he essentially conceded that year 13 or 14 of such a deal that the breakout time could be reduced to nearly zero. i know there is an explanation, but i'd love to hear from your experts and from the nse official. how can that be ameliorated and reinforced so -- at year 13 or 14. >> yeah, we'll start with jon and then we'll move down. >> i think if i understand your first question, it's how are we going to make sure that the best people are working on this problem, and that the iaea and
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the government have what they need. that's why we're here. that's how we got to this stage. the iaea receives a tremendous amount of support from the united states, including through people like tom shea and other experts that are provided. they get great doohickeys from the national laboratory which he we helped develop. we helped train their people. we send young people to intern and become staff members. so in terms of the technical capabilities and the leadership, the iaea already has that and we are working closely with them to understand what more they would like, what more they will need. a great example is the new types of cameras or the online enrichment flow monitors that will be installed in each cascade that will instantaneously be checking the enrichment level sort of like a thermostat. you can it is when it hits 3.67 you're good. when it hits 3.68, an alarm goes out. i think that part we'll continue to work through and we expect
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there will be more resources. in terms of the u.s. government, we're also looking at our own organization. we believe right now that our military and our intelligence capabilities are properly resourced. that may change over time. we're constantly evaluating those things. we are looking at how we will organize ourselves for the implementation of the jcpoa. there is still some decisions that have to be made. but we're also, just as we learned lessons from trying to implement iraq and north korean agreements, we're learning what we'll need to do to organize ourselves effectively and who will staff the joint commission and so forth. in terms of the breakout time lines, what we have been able to achieve in luzon and in the jcpoa is a predictability to iran's enrichment capacity. and that extends through the research and development plan that the iaea will receive from iran. some of those documents are laid out very clearly in the jcpoa. they're ten years of restrictions on the number of centrifuges.
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there are very strict limits on the types of r & d that can be done there is a strict cap on enrichment level and more importantly the amount of enrichment material iran may have. they can't go over 300 kilograms of u2345. there is a plan iran must provide to the agency that provides predictability and is consistent with their energy needs and with their development. so in year 14, or let me rephrase this. right now we have a plan through year 13. they will have to continually update that based on their development. so let's say in year 10 they update their 15-year plan and it says okay, we're going to have 5,000, 5,000, 9 million swu. that appears inconsistent with their obligations under the jcpoa. we will still have the right to say that appears inconsistent with us. we can work to impose sanction.
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we can work to get our allies equally concerned as they have been at 19,000 installed centrifuges. so the predictability is what we've been able to achieve. and the iaea will get access to that in the plan. so iran has an incentive to have what we have described as sort of a soft r&d landing. that's really part of what dr. moniz, who has now been knighted by the portuguese and i'm sure will be getting other accolades once he gets back and has working out there. are some provisions that will be coming out that we expect will be investigated during the review period. but we don't -- the agreement does not provide for this exponential increase in enrichment capacity or a drop-off in terms of the breakout timeline. >> okay. >> let me -- can i follow up on that for a second. because i testified before the
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senate foreign relations committee last month. and they asked what are the criteria we should use for evaluating the new agreement. i offered several. one of them is assessment is not about imagining all the bad things that could go wrong and listing them. that's not assessment. assessment is you try to put parameters, measure the risks involved and weigh these risks and calculate trade-offs. so how do you do that? well, you compare one thing to another. and we've talked about this being exceedingly strong agreement compared to arguably the most robust negotiated nonproliferation agreement in history. so if it looks good compared to the others, that should give you some confidence going forward. a second and separate, it seems to me evaluation criterion is how does it compare to the alternatives? so i hear a lot of folks saying well, 15 years isn't long
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enough. part of me really has to fight hard and resist going down the road of i've heard this song before. it's called moving the goalposts. i remember on breakout time prime minister netanyahu in that famous speech before the u.n., i think it was 2012 said we need at least a few weeks or months' notice before iran does something. a few weeks or months. and then john kerry comes and testifies before the senate foreign relations. he says we're going have six months of breakout time which is more than a few weeks or months. then he was told six months isn't enough. then they come back with an agreement that says a year. doubling that. and then suddenly we hear well, actually, we need two years. i don't know if there is any number that we can could choose for breakout time that would satisfy people. and it seems to me that 15 years is a really, really long time in nuclear years, years for a nuclear program. but that's my judgment. let's compare wit the alternatives. let's say we use military force to decimate that program. i was part of a study that looked at the costs and benefits of military action against iran's program and was the estimate of 40 retired military and defense officials, including
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former national security advisers that after doing that, iran would be able to reconstitute its program in roughly four years, right? we wipe it out. they rebuild it in four years. what do we do? we wipe it out again i guess? i don't know. but that's -- we're talking about an agreement that is going to go for 15 years. compared to the four years that they would take to reconstitute it if we used military force as an option. so, again, all these debates about the details are important, but how do you judge things? you compare them to other things. you compare them to other agreements. you compare them to your alternatives. and that gives you a greater sense of the sorts of risks you're taking. >> so we have the iaea being involved, which is an international organization which grew out of president eisenhower's proposal at the end of 1953. and it is as an international organization responsible to its member states of which there are
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176. and one of its obligations is to respect the sovereignty of each of these states. so it cannot act in an impromptu or whiplash effect. it has to proceed with due caution so as to avoid false allegations on the one hand while being mindful that if there is something going on, that it must act in sufficient time to allow an adequate response. and that will be i think a problem if depending upon what goes forward. so these questions of the 24 day, et cetera, that's a sort of period during which the degree of certainty would continue to build up, maybe it's denied or not yet permitted to go to a particular location. but there are a lot of other things that be going on in a circumstance like that. so my own perception may be clouded by the fact that i'm an optimist and i want this to succeed. but i think this is a new era and that i'm hopeful that iran
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will seize upon this as a chance to demonstrate its commitment to the obligations that it is entering into. if it doesn't, we're going to know about it. and things that interference with activities or just the color of how much cooperation is there is it something which is demonstrated on a daily basis by providing assistance that the inspectors can actually do their work, or are there things that get in the way. so that will be known soon. >> and i think we know that the iranians have abided by the interim agreement that was reached back in 2013 quite faithfully for the last couple of years. and that's a good precedent. okay. gentleman right there, wait for the microphone. >> my name is mike sponder. everybody here agrees that the agreement is a good agreement. my curiosity is since there is no longer any state secrets, when you use the word tough negotiations, what didn't they agree to? because at this particular
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point, only what they didn't want to do is relevant. what did the united states want that iran did not want? there should be no secrets on this. i was once the director of innovations at the office of naval research. we knew what was going on. if somebody asked us a question, we either said i don't want to tell you or i'm going to tell. tell us what they didn't agree to. >> no. i'm not going to tell you. i mean, we will have lots of discussions over the next several months about, well, you know, iranians won or they got all these things they wanted. >> that wasn't my question. >> i understand.
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>> my question is what did you want that they did not agree to? it's simple. you can say i don't want to tell you. if you can't tell me, we'll find out. >> i'm not sure i understand the second part of the question. but i'm happy to talk about the verification. why we think the deal is a good one. >> that wasn't my question. >> and it's prerogative not to answer. >> what they did not agree to. >> i'm sorry. i can't provide you with an answer to that question. >> i'm afraid we have run out of time. those of you who have more questions, please, if our folks here have time, they will be happy to answer them. and check out the report of tom shea. it should be available on our website and on the search for common ground website in a couple of days. thank you so much for coming. the witnesses will include inspector general michael horowitz and charles samuels. that's live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. here on c-span 3 we'll have a hearing that looks at foster care issues with state government officials. that's being held by the senate finance committee. live coverage beginning at 10:00 a.m. eastern.
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next a look at the social needs of children in military families and the current resources available to them. this was part of an event hosted by the military child education coalition. it's 35 minutes. >> well, good morning. hey, look, don't you love those defining moments? i mean they're really, really awesome. well, welcome to the family program town hall. i'd like toinlt deuce our panelists we have up here. first we have lieutenant general david albertson who is commander of the army assistant chief of staff for insti lags management, we have the air force deputy chief of staff for manpower and services. vice admiral dixon r. smith,
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naval command. and the honorable danny g.i.pummel, the principal deputy under veterans administration and he is also an adviser. gentlemen, thank you. so we collected questions from the audience the last couple days. and i'm going to start off with some of those questions. i understand there is a mike out there, though. if you have a question from the floor, please don't hesitate to go ahead and walk over there, somehow signal me or have someone signal me, throw a wad of paper at me or something to get my attention so i can then call upon you. i like to be as spontaneous in the beginning. the first question is a question given to us two days ago. in light of the current fiscal environment, how do you see
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funding of family programs being affected in the short and long term and then are there from your perspectives any nonnegotiables? >> i'll jump in. >> yes, the budget is impacting us. our program, cno, chief naval operations said we're not touching that. and so whether it's child development centers or youth programs, we're protecting those. and they're funded well because we understand importance of taking care of our children and the families because obviously that is very important to our sailors when they go forward to deploy. we have that fenced and we're
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not impinging our child youth programs with this budget. >> it's a great question because it's a reality, right? we have to do it. and the most important thing is i think it's that fine balance we do between mission, you know, family and our community and what it is because we understand family is part of readiness. and so from our per inspect in any event army and the other things, it is a very, you know, must fund type thing that we're doing here. just like dixon said, it is nonnegotiable. how we adjust certain things and deal with certain contract you'llal things of the way we are and brings the same service or capabilities, those are things we want to adjust and have discussions on. but to communicate that to the families, i understand, they are part of readiness from our perspective.
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>> i'll speak back on the one case that i talked about is that partnership piece is really important as we begin to, you know, the budget is kind of tight. we'll do the funding the best way we can. but we have to have that partnership as well. we know from experience the better off that the family of a service member to include the children are when they transition from military to civilian life, the better they'll be able to make that smooth transition less ptsd, more chance of getting jobs that are involved in the communities. >> thank you. you may have personal experiences with this as well you would like to share. what do senior military leaders
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believe the biggest challenge facing the veteran connected children? >> how do you integrate, how do you get your kids integrated into your community and areas and stuff? so the biggest challenge as you know is -- and it's a reality that we're not the norm in society anymore in military. it's harder to get n it's hard to do this. and really how do we integrate with our society in the communities and how do we leverage that capability? it's important that you're an enabler to that education, you
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know, experience. you're an enabler to do that. the other folks in this society may not know what did your father do? what is the war about? all the conversations our kids have to deal with at times are very, very important. and i think that conversation can be had. we have to reach out and things like msec or the school liaison has to educate the principals, the counsellors and all those types of things of what this child's gone through, problem bhi has moved multiple times. their spouses have been or their parents have been deployed. all these types of things, maybe like my kids, 12 different schools, how they have to deal with the thins. all these types of things are going to be maybe not as normal as it used to be. as we shrink and get smaller, because what we have to do is that experience may not be there. so i think that's going to be
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something that we'll have to continue to foster in the future. >> and going forward. so you think about what happened since 9/11. incredible support we have across this united states for support for the military and our children. so going forward, is that support going to wayne a little bit? >> so this collaboration with school boards and other organizations like this, that's what we have to do to make sure we have a continued support with our local communities. it's hard to grow up as a military child as you go from school to school. so my kids are -- i have a 22-year-old and 20-year-old, daughter of the 22-year-old, nine different schools, three different high schools, that's challenging. >> one in the transition from school to school.
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come into a new environment. not knowing anybody and the integration. that's where student to student that they do, our connection rooms that manufacture the schools now have really help and enables our kids to get integrated quickly and be able to focus on academics. that's where the interstate compact and the efforts this organization have had to get all 50 states finally onboard with that. the military student identifier right now and 17 of our states have the identifier on the forms and continue to push that need. because then when you do that, you contract those students and they can get through school easy. that state's graduation credentials. those are the two biggest thing this is organization and many organizations are working that and, you know, i personally know we all thank you for what you do on that. but we have to keep on pushing it because the job is not done.
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>> after deployment, what can leadership do to reinvigorate initiatives between instellations and school districts? >> make sure they're integrated with the local school board and community. just emphasizing that point is something we need to do. and then every time that we go out as senior leaders to go out to visit with the local communities and visit with those school boards to make sure there is an understanding what it is and the challenges our folks are facing. >> senior commanders are on the
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school board. they are advisors. >> i think it's very, very important. we put school liaisons into our areas there. that facilitates that communication that they need and what we need to do. d also from that try to balance to admission community and family, you know, we've done a lot of things like adopt schools and these types of programs put the soldiers to assist. all the things like with stem and working with robotics teams and taking our capital to know that you have to give back to the community and share this dialogue with our children and stuff very, very important. so these are the initiatives we have to continue to foster. this is our lower, you know, our next mustard seed we have to grow from a leader perspective to make sure the commanders know
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is part of readiness. and this really gives that you balance that can you see. and you'll just like everything we've seen, you'll reap the benefits of it from anything do you from your civil input. education is so important. when you talk to families, education is a huge readiness issue. and what we want to do is create the environment that the family unit stays together and they don't make decisions because it's an education. war is hard enough to push. but to stay together is very, very important in that focus, in the work that we're doing is allowing that and to ensure they don't have to make the other tough choices. >> the next one deals with stem. stem being science, technology, engineering and math. and this is -- it could be answered in a yes or no. do you think this is more important than sports? >> yes. >> my two girls, one is mechanical and one is electrical engineering. it's important, right? my wife was english background.
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but it's really important. but she did go to the academy. but it's really important, i think, for stem. i think in the future, it's a gap that we need to do. and it's exciting. it doesn't matter where you are, there's a lot of opportunities for us, like they were in college and they went to -- i mean they were in high school and went to college classes to facilitate some of these exploitation of stem. so i've seen the school districts work very closely with them to ensure they do have the environment to learn and to prosper and to understand that it's okay to -- especially with my girls, being and engineer is a good thing to do. >> we push stem very hard. we have partnerships with 2100 schools out there across the country. and where we can, we leverage the expertise in stem in those
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partnerships whether it is down on the river and out in hawaii where the shipyard or in san diego. bl we are ruining stem competitions. so we consider it very important as dave sid, we have to work that stem piece. the more we can get that into the elementary schools and middle schools, high schools, the better off we're going to be not only as a navy and service but as a country down the road. >> okay. this next one and the numbers may be wrong. but the idea is important here. there is a 35% suicide and depression rate of children of military personnel and 37% higher for siblings of military
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personnel. are you seeking programs to address this? >> it's the biggest fear of all parents, right? kids grow up and hormones change and the development, we learned a lot more. but we are in the aspects from the army, instituted a lot of the training we did for our soldiers and stuff is being offered to family members and to children that are cyss and stuff like that. so we've done that internally to -- in the acs and teaching master resillency and be pushed all wait down to give them the resilience they need to
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understand that these are normal and they can get help. it's troubling if you have one that there is so much life to go through that it's not turning on the computer, it's a life experience. life is about the ups and downs and how do you get through them as a team or together as a yunt and that you're not alone. >> the struggle for the air force, just just to piggyback on the resillency trainers is to have one in every squadron in every air force. that's the path we're on to piggyback on. that not only it is for airmen, it's also for the families as well. we're doing the same thing. >> the answer is yes also for that for the navy. but we do the same thing to our
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fleet and family service centers. >> from a va perspective, we do a lot with suicides. our figures are the best we have right now is about 18 veterans a day commit suicide in the united states. one thing i worry about is the transition period for military children when they leave that reserve status and going into the civilian sector. i remember back when i was in high school, my dad retired from the air force. i was a junior in high school. that was a nightmare for me. i never fit into the new school. it probably delayed my college by four years. i was a mess. i don't know if there are figures out there. i heard your figures. i'm dernd that figures were the people that left military and are now civilians. i don't know if anybody is keeping those figures. that is something we need to think about and worry about, how do we better hand that will transition for the children? >> good point. >> what do you believe? this is an aspect from a parent's perspective. but what do you think is the best way to hash your resilience in my child after all the deployments and reintegration? we'll get to each of those. >> you know what we try to do
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for our kids, is you know, we want them to stay in team sports. or the band or something that has more than one person. so just an individual activity isn't something that, you know, as you go into a new school and now it's time to go into the cafeteria and if you're participating in a group event whether it's band or choir or sports, then you walk in and there is somebody you know that you can sit at the table. otherwise, you're going into that new school and you don't know a soul. >> right. >> those kinds of things get more people around is what we try to do. i think something that helps. >> i think -- that's a tough question. it's reality. even though folks will say that we're not certain places and there's no work, from an army perspective, we're just as busy doing engagement things in the ukraine and balkans and other areas, rotational forces. so the churn is still the same
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for people deploying. it's part of the aspect you are to be a military child in the military family and stuff like that. they do need to understand to communicate. so the families we have at acs and housing as a family and how you deal with these things are very important. you understand you're not unique with the issues. it's how you communicate them to your child as the spouse or something of your soldier's deploying. knowing that they're doing it because their mission requires it. but they really want to be. there and the connectivity they do. all the different programs we can bring together to keep the kids connected, we made a lot of progress on that. but it's going to be part of the norm. we have to continue to stress the programs and learn the communication and understand that it's just a normal thing. it so true. you want to get back to normal as soon as possible. that way they feel comfortable and have confidence in
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themselves and what they are. and to get that circle that they're not alone. that's the unique thing we have to continue to stress. >> when i look at the things we've done each time we moved with our three kid, it came down to three things, the things we could keep stable, to keep stable. make sure that love exists in the family. they knew we loved them no matter what they wanted to do and the third thing sint inauguration in outside the family whether it in xoog or extra curricular activities and making sure they're involved. >> so one important skill do you believe military children will gain just by virtue of being military connected children that will make them college and career ready? >> i'll jump on that one. and i always -- we spent three years in naples. i guess middle school for our two oldest and spent three years over there and they learned things, they learned that there is more out there and a bunch of
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english speaking americans. there is more to do out there. there is more ways to do things than just the american way. we walk in a church and say look at. this oh, look at this another church. they've been in 15 or 20 churches. but what i really saw the change is when we came back and went to our next duty station back here and had a young man same age as our oldest one that lived a couple doors down. he was a solid kid. good grades, athlete, could converse with adults, just a squared away kid. but the difference between that young man and our oldest was his universe revolved around jacksonville, florida. our son's universe revolved around the world. he understood there is more out there than just jacksonville. and to me, and i look now and he's now 28 and what he's doing and how he succeeded, yeah, we
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moved many times. all three of our kids went to at least two different high schools. but the resilience and peace we talked about braen working and providing the things that can be stable, i look at how he and the other two kid are now as a result i think they are who they are because of the experience we had in the military. >> okay. i think the global aspect of, the global world we're connected economically, militarily and global and just like dixon said, i also think that they are resilient because they had the pcs and have done the different things. they integrate really well with people. it's really important to be able to do that. as a national university which was, you know, can be intimidating. graduating from oklahoma and all the other issues. they felt very comfortable with. that i do think our children,
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they have a great, you know, worldly experience because they're going to be exposed to a whole bunch of different things. and they can actually be an enabler into the educational environment for the rest of the people they're with. and if the teachers and the principals can actually exploit that type of thing, it really does, you know, make it unique experience. >> we had a short conversation this morning over coffee with mary. and, of course, the world knew and all that stuff. then we had a discussion about the little things. being on time, rsvp'ing, nobody rsvps anymore. thank you notes, only military people send thank you notes. yes, sir, yes, ma'am, little things like that that kind of set them aside, that discipline, that little bit of extra that they learn from being military children. so that's on the side a little bit and makes them special. >> good comments. >> what can secondary schools do
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to address the fact that there are too few people with what with they call middle skills, leaving an employment gap. by middle skills, think what the questioner is asking is what do you do about voluntary tech training? are we trying to make everybody college ready when not everybody ought to go to college and things like that? >> the american model is you have options, right? it is an individual choice what you want to do. i know we're doing a lot on credentialing a lot of our skills from that capability. i think it is an awareness. i mean, there is a big thing even with education how do you do education? i think there is a big attack on the institutional aspect of education. and the brick-and-mortar aspect of doing that. when you look at the new businesses, credentialing and getting your certain credentials
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are just as important as, what? as having this broad based education. because if i'm going to be an i.t. person, i don't really need world history maybe. so there are issues we really have to be able to work on these approaches. georgia tech even with their masters program now have been able to cut down the costs especially in some cyber fields just because of this approach to be able to take a different approach where you're not so much focused on the overarching aspect but to get the credentialing. so america will have to continue to look at it and go for that. so we're doing a lot to capture the experts to be able to then impose and to credential folks along their way. so that's why for us, for a soldier for life, we're doing credentialing so our soldiers when they transition have more
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skill sets than the outside. >> we do similar things with the credentialing piece. but to get to the core piece of that question, as you look at where we're going. do folks in the cyber realm, do they need a college degree or is it programming and coding and that kind of stuff whether it can be learned on your own or different ways should that be part of our middle schools now as opposed to what we do today? >> it won't be turning wrenches and doing auto mechanic stuff. it will be cyber. >> in what ways do you feel these programs help parents and families help with military connected children. >> well, i mean, i'm looking out here and i see folks that i recognize and there's a couple of things that come to mind. it's not just the programs that is provided by and that we
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utilize throughout the services but it's all t separates that are separate but that you partner together and leverage each other with what you do. that's your shoutout, you asked for it last night. that makes a difference. so you all are spending two solid days here and while we sit up here and talk and ask questions and you listen to folks, what's really going to happen is the networking, partnerships that you're establishing, developing, and the thinks you're writing down and say you poe what? we're going to work that out. so it's the breaks and that's what i think will benefit, the leverage is and what you all do, so thank you. [ applause ] >> and i think what's important
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is how do you adapt to the new ways things are and what are the new approaches you need to do? i think it's important that mse things. it does show you the power of what one person can do that's the important, the mustard seed aspect, to take it to our communities and -- the military child is important, we've got to give them opportunities, so it is an amazing thing. how we'll do that for where we want to be, is important in how we adapt. that's the thing i think we keep on focusing on, too. >> i think about myself as a dependent, my kids as dependents, my grandkids, ands
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things we have changed. it's important, a very fragile all-volunteer force. being a military child is hard. if we can't make sure those children are taken care of and that they have a better than averages chance in society, that's going to be one of the pegs that you can remove that would call the all-volunteer force to go away. if you look at the statistics, they're our future officers, our future ncos. most of them join the military. if you kind of look at some of all the important people in the united states, most of them are military children. you have to sustain them. we have to keep that going. >> i'm going to ask for a close commentary. there are a lot of young folks out here, and i wanted to ask you what advice you might give the students in the room as far as cultivating talent and
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developing persistence to achieve success? >> work hard. >> set goals. and stay in school. there is no easy solution for any of this, you know what i mean? it takes a whole team, and i think that's what's important about it. set your sights high. you can do any you want, so at the time them high and reach for them. >> despite what mom and dad says, but chase your dream, be focused. don't give up. >> okay. well, then i would ask each of you, if you have something else, that we go ahead and close it out. >> i just want to say it's a great opportunity, good dialogue, good questions. if you're well prepared for things with the questions. you didn't give us any real answers, so it was going to have the dialogue.
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like most folks, we are committed to our military child and education. education is very important. its a readiness issue. this family thing is a ready there's issue. it's something that on the -- you know, the three-legged stool that we have to continue to nur tuesday and balance during tough and challenging times. we are, just like this thing, it's their story, our commitment to the military, to you all and what you do here. we are committed to that. that is a big part of the professional aspect of what we try to do. i want to say thanks to each of you, and what you'll do for our kids as you go to each part of the globe that you come from.
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>> my dad served for 30 years. i went to ten different schools, my sister, my brother same kind of thing. sometimes different schools in different grades. my mom dragged three of us from south carolina to the philippines by herself through the military airlift system. i was the 6-year-old and i know i was a lot of help as we moved through that. so i did that. but there was no such thing as an m-sec or communication between schools. i've had two kids who have gone through similar things. but they emerged out of it just fine, but it's some of the things we talked about, the love
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at home, add making sure they're part of a bigger organization that they can latch themselves on to. the air force, the military, all the services, there's opportunities. so for the young people in the crowd. you work hard, there's plenty of opportunities that that existed when my dad joined, they exist today. so you work hard, you'll do thin things. >> i just want to say thank you. you're here because you care, whether you're an educator, a parent, run a support program, you work with one of the services to take care of our children, you're here because you care. don't forget that you make a difference, you support us, you support our family and you are try already force multipliers, so thank you for what you do day in, day out for our children.
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>> i'll just reinforce what everybody else said. thanks. you know why you're here. you know why it's important. from a veterans administration perspective. my biggest concern is transition of service members to civilians, to be productive civilians. one of the greatest things that's happened in the last couple years is congress enacting the act which greatly expanded the transition program and the services now allowing spouses to attend transition with their service member. we know from our statistics in v.a. that if a spouse attends the transition program with his or her spouse, that they sign up for more benefits, they take advantage of more benefits and they usually don't mess up their transfer, their college. just versus a spouse there is a huge difference. one of the things i pledge to mary is the v.a. will work with msec to try to get a way for you
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to access our web sites so we can provide the people going through transform action the things they need for their children. i can tell you, in that whole transition process, it takes about 180 days. there is not very much for children in there. they're thinking about where they're going to live, where they'll go to school, how to handle the medical issues, but we can't forget that. thank you again for having me here today. all right. i learned a lot. i didn't know a lot of that information, and i think we all took away something from their personal experiences they've had as they've gone through their time in the military and raised their children. they went through the same thing you all are going through now. mary, if i could ask you to come on up and we can give a little memento here?
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great group. thank you very much. sunday night on q&a, former emergency manager of detroit, kevin orr talks about detroit's financial issues, and his job overseeing the largest municipal bankruptcy in u.s. history. >> if detroit had taken that money it borrowed in 2005 and 2006, when the stock market went down and if it had just invested in an index fund, stock market is now trading at 18,000, almost three times what it would. they not only would have tripled their money, they could have paid the pensions in full and gotten back into the business of what's called the 13th check,
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the practice of given a pensioners a 13th check in addition to the 12 they're due. it could have fixed itself. if you have some strong leadership and some focused leadership, you can resolve these problems, but it takes a lot of effort. >> sunday night on c-span's q&a. this morning here on c-span3, the finance committee looking into ways to reduce the needs for foster care. the committee title for this hearing, a way back home, reserves families. we'll be hearing testimony from state health and human services officials as well as a former foster child and an advocate for parents. some of the lawmakers coming into the room shortly expected to start in just a couple minutes, the chair of this committee, or run hatch and
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ranking member ron wyden of oregon.
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and just waiting for this hearing to begin, this is the senate finance committee looking for ways to reduce the needs for foster care. hearing from a former foster child and advocate for parents. testimony as well from state health and human services officials. also to let you know on the companion network on c-span under way right now a hearing on the effectiveness of the federal prison system. we'll be hearing from the author of "orange is the new black." and the senate just gaveling in on c-span2, working today on cybersecurity. later on, live at 1:00 eastern we'll hear from the chancellor
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of the university of north carolina, carol fult. and live at 3:00, a forum on the future of afghanistan.
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and just waiting for the senate ferns committee under way. just waiting to the chair orrin hatch, and the ranking member ron wyden in order to start of hearing. as well as former -- a former foster child who's been through the system and an advocate for parents. should be starting shortly here on c-span3.
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the meeting will come to order. robert frost once wrote -- home is the place where you have to go there, they have to take you in, unquote. unfortunately for far too many children in our foster care system, that type of home is not available. today the senate finance committee will hear tim on alternatives that can reduce reliance on foster care homes. i've been very pleased to have
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work on this hearing with ravening member wyden. if fact i enjoy working with him on everything we've worked on together. >> thank you very much. >> this is a bipartisan meeting. the basic premise of this hearing is simple. whenever possible, children should grow up in a home with their family. when problems arise, attempts should be made to keep children safely at home. if a child cannot be kept safely at home, efforts should be made to place them with fit and willing relatives. they should only be in group lopes for short periods of time, and on this when other evident have been exhausted. too many children in youth spend years isolated and confined in foster care group homes. this past may the committee held a hearing on the need to safely reduce reliance on foster care
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group homes. we heard power of testimony from a form ever foster youth about her negative experiences. the committee also heard testimony about how expensive, inappropriate and untimely detrimental placement in these homes can be for many children and youth. i believe we should do whatever we can to reduce the reliance on foster care group homes. there's a point when we should refuse to spend scarce taxpayer dollars to subsidize a placement that we know results in negative outcom outcomes. as i said in the past, no one would support -- in my view, tax players -- is ultimately just as destructive.
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however, it is not firm -- and youth currently in or at risk of entering one of the these facilities. the purpose of this hearing such eight tiffs include allows states to use their foster care funds for the purpose of providing services and interventions that can -- and currently the federal government devotes the highest portion to the least desirable outcome for vulnerable families. and placing them in stranger care or in a foster care group home. current federal foster care laws prohibit states from using certainly federal fuzz to produce services that could 'meal yorrate harmful services. some states like utah believe they can redue the neat for
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foster care if they use -- to front and back end services to families. in 2011 we drafted legislation that would allow 30 states to get waivers for innovative ways to provide these up-front services today we will hear from an official from my home state of utah and how this flexibility has improved outcomes, reducing the reliance on foster care. i believe we should extrapolate from the home works initiative as a model for all states. whether you ask a while who's been in foster care how we can best improved the system. the answer will often be you could have helped my mom, but a child cannot remain safely at home when assisting the parents is untenable. another alternative it to locate
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a fit and willing relative for the child. in recent years, congress has taken some steps to increase these types of outcomes. for example, in the landmark legislation, the fostering connections to success and increasing adoption act of 2008, congress allowed states to get federal reimbursement for -- and under legislation enacted in the last congress, states are not allowed to get federal incentives for increases in kinship placement. in other words, congress has strongly signaled to states that kinship placement should be a priority. i know that senator wyden is planning to introduce legislation which would allow federal funds to be used for services to help families stay safely together. i look forward to working with him and any other members of the committee on legislation that would reduce the reliance on
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foster care group homes and allow states to use their federal foster care dollars for these prevention services. i hope to have a committee markup of this legislation in the fall. this is part of a bipartisan process and i hope members will lib carefully. i will now turn to nor wyden. >> thank you very much. in the beginning i wanted to take note of the fact that you and mr. chairman, have spent literally decades keeping chi well fair issues bipartisan. i look -- i know becky ship is here, and i think once again the financial commit yes can work --
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mr. chairman and colleagues, this morning in america there's likely to be a single mom with two kids multiple parttime jobs, with a big worry. she works long hours, but even then it's a struggle to pay the bills and key foot on the table. because her work schedule changes week to week, she's forced to leave her children unattended at times. once that happens, social workers have to choose between two not very good options, breaking up the family object doing nothing at all to help. what could help them the most,
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the answer is often, and i quote here, helping my mom. helping my dad helping my fact, but that's just not in the cards when social workers have nothing to offer, but foster care. today kids predominantly wind up in foust -- or cause in these enormous enormously, most aren't there because of fill or -- maybe mom and dad needs help covering the bills for a month. subtabs abuse treatment. before breaking the family apart.
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in fact it might save resources without compromising on safety. back in the mid ' 0s there was a debate. a gentleman named nude gingrich said the answer was putting the kids in -- and i remembered from gray panther days, a lot of the seniors and a lot of the churches they went to had been talking about how a grandparent might be able to step in, might be able to step in for a short period of time when their child, the apparently, the second generation was in effect. had a substance abuse problem.
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but i learned that older people, grandparents, ants, uncles, had an e -- that could make a big difference in terms of how we assist these troubled youngsters. ban they can i authored the kinship care act which said immediate relatives ants, uncles, grandparents who meant the necessary constituents would have the first preference, the first preferencened law and it in effect was the first federal law that ever had been enacted to propot kinship care. i think we have an opportunity as chairman hatch just suggested, in going even further
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to help these youngsters thrive with kin. there's also proof that waiving states out of the old-fashion -- my home state of oregon has a program, and i'm very pleased that economic nybee is here, and we call it differential response, because it basically is all about signaling that every time, and every family may require a different type of support. the old two-option system basically saying it's either foster care or nothing doesn't cut it. what mr. nyby is going to talk about is how oregon has taken a more tailored approach to help the families out. i think my colleagues already interested. strong families means strong
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kids. our new proposal will be called the family stability and kinship care act. the bill will make sure that more states are in a position to adopt fresh strategies like oregon's and also provide more opportunities to tap that extraordinary potential that's out there of grandparents, aunts, uncles and family members that can step in in the kinds of circumstances where otherwise a chi may just have one of two options that they don't care for. i'll close simply by saying, i want to make it clear that this is in notice what a condemnation of foster care. we know kids for which foster care is a lifesaver. kids for whom foster care was a
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safe place where they could grow up and thrive. what this is all about is creating as many good choices as we possibly can for youngsters to grow up in a safe, healthy environment, that means keeping families together i'll close by saying chairman hatch has put in decades, decades trying to steer this child welfare debate in a bipartisan way, i commend him for it, and i want the chairman and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to know, i think we have an opportunity to rise to the occasion again, and i like forward with working with the chairman and all of you on it. >> thank you, senator wyden. first we're going to hear from sandra colette. she's a single mother who has raised two sons who are now 20 and 18 years of age.
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her son was removed from the home for 1 1/2 years. child welfare organizing project. next we'll hear from a former foster youth from san diego california during her 12 years in foster care. now at just 23 years old, ms. burton enjoying working as a mental health worker as san pass equal academy, a residential facility in san diego county. she is also currently attending pal omar community college, where she will obtain her bachelor's degree and continue on to work towards a master's in
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social work and/or policy. we'll next here in a donna butz who has served for generations united. she served as the exec difficult director on adolescent pregnancy, parenting and preven. she received her undergraduate degree from maryhurst college, later graduated from stanford university, the executive program for nonprofit leaders. she is a recipient of the seaberry leadership awards, also been recognized twice by the nonprofit times as one of the top 50 most powerful and influential nonprofit executives in the nations. i would now like to give senator wyden a chance to introduce our third witness chuck nyby, representing the great state of oregon. >> mr. chairman, thank you.
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mr. nyby, and i touched on his extremely important work on differential response, and trying to make sure it wasn't a one size fits all approach for helping necessary unions terse. he's gone from caseworker to supervisor and now i think it would be fair to say he's the prior to his work with the department of human services, he wording for the youth authority, mr. chairman, i won't filibuster her, but we have three oregon connections on the panel, not only chuck i guess i'm showing my age, i remember jack and his good work. ms. butts has roots in oregon
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and, is the so we kind of run the tables. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> exec difficult director of my state's -- ms. williamson graduated from in south carolina with a bachelor's degree in theology. and has gone on to receive distinguished alumnae awards from both schools. in october 2013, ms. williamson was appointed to her current position after serving president and ceo of the louisiana association of nonprofit associations, and cabinet secretary for louisiana's department of social services. in less than two years in her position in utah ms. williamson has overseen the state's successful efforts to obtain a federal tight and the launching
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of a child well fair project homeworks which aims to reduce the work of foster care, and neglect, and the need for social services intervention. i welcome each of our witnesses to the committee here today. as we proceed to openings statements, i urge you to keep your remarks to the allotted five minutes, if we can. we'll start with you. >> good morning. thank you chairman hatch, ranking member wyden and members of the committee for the invitation to be here today. my name is sandra cole. i'm a divorced single mother who raised two sons who are now 22 and 20 years of age. i reside in new york city, and i'm currently employed as executive director of the child welfare organizing project.
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this is a self-help organization for -- today i am here to share insights, gain from my own experience as a parent impacted by the child protection system. as well as perspective from hundreds i have worked with, and organizations birth apparently national network and some other parent organization. i will tell you that some of these parents with me did not have the luxury i had, which is to come here last night, but they got on a bus at 3 a 45 a.m. to be here so i would like to say thank you to all of the parents who have taken the journey with me.
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a child welfare system in true reality. forever left our family traumatized from this experience. as a single mother, i relocated to new york city from atlanta, georgia with my two boys. they were young, and we relocated to new york due to financial hardship. all i my family supports were in new york city. it was difficult for my two boys. they left their dad, but their dad traveled back and forth to new york city from atlanta to be there for them. my oldest son, which is the one
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whom generated the contact with the new york city children's services, trey, he found it most difficult. he was raised with his dad and of course, as you can imagine, it was a disruption in the family. i sought help and support for my family challenges. my son was attending family counseling we were getting some support, but the separation from his father was difficult and challenging thereby generating some -- i began to ask every week about how services, individual services for my son. i was told those services were not available immediately, we were on a waitlist. we stayed on the waitlist.
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before we could actually get off that waitlist there was an altercation that occurred between me and my son. he was at the age of 13. before that altercation actually occurred, i will tell you that the outbursts occurring in my household, had me retreating to my bedroom with my youngest son if fear of what would happen. did did i know what had happened? , but pushing further, it pursued. at the time of this incident. i did reach out to new york city children's services for assistance. i did not receive the assistance. instead i received an investigation into my household. that investigation was very intrusive, and i absolutely say an investigation, because that's what it was. my family was asked questions that i thought were not necessary. my sons were asked questions that were about how i parented them, whether or not i disciplined them and how i
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disciplined them. i will tell you that i found this out later from my sons when they told me this. i was surprised that they were not interested in what actually occurred or how i had come into their office for assistance. what i would like to do is highlight three recommendations on how to service families at risk and/or already involved in the child protection system. child well fair funding neither to be realigned to support a broad array of community-based preven and early intervention service to strengthen families and keep families together. partnering with parents to work and support other families before and during any involvement with the child protection system and/or the courts can help families stay
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strong and safe, and quick le reunify. i believe that most parents want to be good parents, but may need some help and assistance along the way. in conclusion, i ask you to take action to make all children at risk protected and helping their families and community build protective factors to ensure their children grow up in a healthy and safe, nurturing home. thank you for allowing me to share a my experience and the voice of many parents whom have come in contact with the system and for whom i bring into this space with me this morning on this very historic i believe for me time. i think that unless you really know what it's like to be separated from your family, your children and that bond forever broken between not only mother
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and child, but between sibling, between extended family, having a grandparent not be able to see their grandchild, because they have not been cleared by a system, having an aunt or an uncle not be able to visit or have an overnight stay with their niece or nephew, not being able to give input into the growth and development of your son or child, is an enormous, enormous, traumatic experience for every single family that have went through it. i will tell you that although we have come through it and i believe that we are coming through it, there are good days, there are bad days, but i will tell you, i still hear families today every day based on the work i do in the organization that talk about the experience and the horrendous experience that they have with a foster care system that does not understand who they are as a
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family, does not understand where they come from in a community, and does not understand the burden that is brought upon them to do things that no other parent oar household would have to do in order to reunify with their children. when i say to you that also having parental rights terminated at a point, as though that is water running from a faucet. that is how often that is happening, where parents are actually losing the rights to their children. so i implore you to really hear us, listen to us, and i say that you actually have been listening, but i think there has to be an action. and the mind-set of what we feel, how we feel about families that we come in contact with that might be in crisis should be seen differently. i would like to say i know i have some time remaining, but i
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think that i have done justice here, and i thank you so much for inviting me and hearing me. i hope this testimony does something for us to have a child welfare system truly that will impact families and children, help them to be strong and safe and nurtured in their own communities. thank you so very much. >> thank you miskillett. >> thank you, chairman, and ranking member wyden. thank you for inviting me to share my store and talk about some of the issues that i know affect many young people. i am 23 years old. a current enter with foster club and mental health workers at a residential facility for youth in escondido, california. by i worked there, i was one of their clients for 4 months. i was in and out of foster care
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experiencing 12 years in care and more than 23 different placements. i eventually aged out and i'm still hoping to find my forever family. my most memorable placement was with my great-aunt with whom i lived a year and a half. at this time i was 3, and my mother was pregnant with her eighth and final child. i was her fourth. my six siblings and i had been removed from mire parents' care for the first time after my mother went away to receive treatment for addiction and my father was report fold neglect. my siblings and i were taken to an emergency shelter, then one of mice sister and i were soon placed with my great-aunt. she was a prepared woman, a gale me stability, love and normalcy that i unfortunately never experienced again. eventual all of my sibling and i were reunified with my parents who relapsed on drugs shortly thereafter. over the next several years we entered care after multiple
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reunifications. at some point my siblings began to have different cases and different social workers, things got really confusing. we no longer went to the same court dates or had the same plans. at no point was kinship care brought up as an option again. i came from a great family. i am one of eight and we are part of an even bigger extended family. my fare is one of nine. while living with pie great aunt, i saw my siblings and parents regularly. felt close and desired their presence in my life. later after we were scattered, my close-knit sibling group became strangers. that history became obsolete. by the time i was 13, i often worried if one of my siblings were to pass, i would not have anything to say at that fine real, because i didn't even know
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who they were. i view the multiple reironifications as proof that my parents wanted tore part of my life. it's also proof he didn't know how to keep me safe. entering foster care is a traumatic experience for all parties involved. my father felt invaded because he was raised in a family where what happens in the home stays in the home. my mother felt revictimized, haunted by her own experience in foster care as a child. her own struggles with abandonment, broken family ties, abuse, along with lack the addiction led to multiple reentries into care. for many years. my mother struggled to get and stay clean. her battle with machine illness and inable to financially support eight kids, along with dependent on an abusive man made it impossible to take care of us. reference illy my parents' rights were terminated when i was 15. by the time my mother had
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finally figured on you how to maintain a house, her sobriety and work on her mental illness, the damage was done. i was no longer the kid that just wanted to be home with her mom and dad. i was a budding teenager, suffering with depression and anger. mandatory individual and family counselling before and during reunification, along with financial assistance could have played a huge role. therapy for my mother could have helped her identify childhood traumaing that affected her parenting and substance abuse. i also imagine shall my mother received services from professionals who understood mental illness and saw her as a victim, not a drug addict, my siblings and i may have not needed to spend so much in foster support. support for preventive service such as financial assistance that help kids stay with their families and continue to support these same services after
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reunification, children, youth and their parents need help understanding and processing the damage time away from each other can have on relationships one reunified. support kinship placement for children who needs to be removed from their homes so they can stay connected. h gripe homes will never get give -- not at gradual, not during your first pregnancy, and definitely not at your 30th birthday. families should be forever. thank you. thank you, good morning, i'm donna butts, i'm pleased to provide testimony and applaud chairman hatch, ranking member wyden, and the committee members for you holding this hearing. every child deserves to grow up in a safe, stable and loving
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home, for about 7.8 million children, that family is headed by kin, a grandparents and uncle or close family friend. the issue facing these families are varied and complex, but united by one common factor. they believe beyond a shadow of a doubt in the importance of family. despite the challenges facing grand-families, children fare well in the care of relatives. compared to children in non-relative care, they have more stability and are more likely to report feeling loved. federal law affirms and research confirming that relatives should be the first placement choice. kinship families are diverse, but the degree to which they receive needed supports and service says tied largely to the way that children come into relative care. children outside the foster care system received little to no services and benefits compared to children, congress should act to ensure that all children and
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relative care receive the support they need to thrive, regardless of the circumstances that brought them to live with a caring relative. over a quarter of the foster care system already relies on relatives. congress has enacted several provisions to ensure an increase relative placements and provide waivers which allow the use of federal dollars to support grandfamilies and woe salute these. today i'll focus on four areas which are much more details in my written statement. i'm going to focus on notice to relatives, licensing, prevention and trauma informed supports. first, notification. we recommend changes to help ensure that relatives received notification with clear information and assistance so they can digest that i options and make the best decisions for children. recent law requires states to identify and notify relatives. they are to be told their options under the law, including
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any options. annette dotally we hear they know very little about this requirement. we recommend that congress direct states to address any inconsistencies using the foster care standards from the national association for regular torrie administration. until now there's been no licensing standards, so they vary dramatically from state to state, and often pose unnecessary barriers. this results in appropriate relatives being denied licensure. for example, j.j. an his two brothers and little sister, they went to live with their grandparents when his father's drinking got out of the kropf. the grandparents wanted to provide a safe and loving home, but they struggled against the clock to makes the required
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changes to their home so they could meet state requirements and continue as a stable, unified family j.j.'s grandparents had to apply for bankruptcy for the costs to make their home comply. it was a home filled with enough love, but not enough bedrooms. for every one child in foster care with a relative, there's about 23 outside at the system being raised or wow a parent print. these family save taxpayers more than $4 billion each year. under current child well fair financing laws, these families receive little or know preventative supportive services to keep them together and out of foster care. fourth, trauma informed supports, generations united recommends urging states to ensure that kinship families have access to the same left of therapy tim services as
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nonfamily -- they also experience challenges this can be even more daunting when caring for kids who have experienced trauma. therapeutic foster care provides residential-level services for children and youth in a family setting with specially trained caregivers. to many kinship families aren't offered these supports and are left to managed serious mental health needs on their own. flexible funding sources are also needed to fill the service gaps for kinship families outside the system. the important rule of federal funding streams like tanif and social services block grants in supporting children in relative care must be recognized. poet maya angelou raised in part by her grandmother said "today people are so disconnected that they feel their blades of grass, but when they know who their grandparents and great-grandparents were, they become trees. they have roots. they can no longer be mowed down. all of america's children deserve a way back home, a way to remain with the roots, the
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families that grow our country strong, productive and contributing citizens." thank you for this opportunity to offer testimony, and i look forward to answering any questions. thank you. >> well, thank you so much. we'll turn to you. >> thank you. first of all, i would just express my appreciation to chairman hatch, ranking member wyden for the opportunity to speak in front of you today. i just really plan to talk about my experience in 13 years working in the child welfare system, what i've experienced and where we're at and where we're moving. when i started working right out of college, i was absolutely not prepared for the challenges and the work. when you listen to the testimony previously provided, part of what i found my job included in, you know, not just learning rules and procedures but how to overcome the perception of the system with the families, with kids in the community that i worked in. and i had a variety of
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experience with the foster care system. and the systems around kids in foster care. early in my career, it seemed like we used foster care as a solution for kids who when they weren't safe in their home. and what i observed is that it often felt like a consequence. and i was really naive. i thought that, you know, when kids were experienced abuse and neglect in the home, they would want to leave. and i thought they wouldn't want to go back until things had changed. but what i found is that, you know, kids would run away from foster care. they would live on the streets, go back to homes where they came from because they preferred that. and it was a huge learning experience for me as a case worker to understand the impact that foster care had on kids even when they were experiencing abuse or neglect at home. and i started to question the work i was doing. so in 2007, oregon adopted a safety model which promoted a least interest of intervention, use foster care as a last resort, but despite my personal excitement, change in any system can be slow. and i found it's been a process
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in oregon since that time and i've experienced this inside and outside of the system, the child welfare system. that same year i became a supervisor, and i supervised a child protective service unit for the next 5 1/2 years. that was a really challenging job. workers work late hours. they work in the evenings, weekends. and as a supervisor, i had to be available to them. and one of my biggest challenges was trying to help them make decisions for work that i wasn't doing. and what i found a common challenge in those decisions was fear. and fear that something bad would happen to a child. fear that we would intervene and take a child into care when we didn't need to. fear of ending up on the front page of the paper or, you know, losing our jobs. and that fear is real. and i witnessed this. i supervised cases that were high-profile cases, and it was extremely challenging in the field not to let one to two percent of the cases we see affect our work with families, all the families that we interacted with. during my time as a supervisor,
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i saw services started to come into place. there were more up-front services available to families. we were able to start working with families and keeping kids safe at home. but there were. ga gaps in those services. without filling those. gas, the challenge remains for child welfare to work with families in a way that keeps kids safe at home. if families aren't getting the support that they truly need. in 2013, i took a job as an operation and policy analyst in oregon to help implement differential response, and i've been doing that since that time. and in our state, differential responses supported by legislative services that we call strengthening, preserving, reunifying family services. and i can say that in the past two years, i have felt more energized and excited about the work i'm doing than ever before. the practice model now comes with the service array providing flexibility to help families in a way that we never had. and foster care is slowly becoming what it was intended to be which is a safety service
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that we use as a last resort. but change takes time. i think we're making progress. but it's my opinion that in order to continue that progress, which our welfare reform changes need to be made in the way that child welfare systems are funded. just like families, systems need flexibility. and you know, oregon has had a title 4 waiver for a number of years. it allows the state to spend federal dollars more flexibly. any waiver savings are matched and used to, you know, finance, expand the service away. and it's allowed oregon to increase services in communities as well as increase the array of services available for families. i understand that's set to expire in 2019. and i worry that without legislative change, our availability to invest in these front-end services will be reduced and funding child welfare primarily through foster care placement doesn't support families in the way that the system is trying to change and reform to. i just want to close saying my journey as a case worker, as a supervisor, i wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.
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working at that level has helped me understand the challenges that families and children face in our community. they interact with the child welfare system. it's trained me to help families, case workers and supervisors see solutions and see possibilities, look at things differently. and i understand that working for child welfare will always be a challenging job. there will always be stigma involved in the system, but it comes with great reward when we can be successful. i just want to thank everyone for their opportunity to speak here today. >> well, thank you very much. ms. williamson, we'll finish with you. >> chairman hatch, ranking member wyden and members of the is that the finance committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you representing the utah department of human services. in utah, we value not only what is in the best interest of children, youth and their families but also what is cost effective. several facts about utah's child welfare model illustrate the strengths of our approach. with one of the nation's highest
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percentage of minors per capita, utah has one of the lowest entry rates into foster care. 3.1 children for every 1,000, the national average is 6.1. the average length of stay for a child in foster care is 10.4 months, and the national average is 13.4 months. following changes that allowed utah to successfully exit a settlement agreement, our system was touted for its effectiveness. we incorporated family team meetings, had rigorous qualitative and case process reviews, established an independent ombudsman's office and a fatality review panel. in recent years, we identified the need to build equally effective in-home supports. to safely keep children with their families, reducing the need for foster care. regardless how well a foster care system operates, the fact remains that children are best served in homes with families,
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familiar schools and community. the voice of one brave young woman who aged out of foster care prior to our recent changes underscores the opportunity we have to do better. as a young child, beth was removed from her mother's case for the neglect that resulted from her mom's untreated mental illness. instead of remaining in her home with parenting and behavioral supports, this child was swept into a perilous journey between multiple foster homes, the juvenile justice system, truancy and homelessness. when asked why she continued to run away from foster homes, beth plainly said it was to get back to her mother. when asked why she behaved so poorly, she expressed feeling out of control and without a voice. fortunately, the positive influence of her final foster father and case workers' influence resulted in beth graduating from high school, getting a job with child welfare after college, and is now enrolled in law school. hers was a rare success story in
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that era. her insights are profound and motivating to us today because we know we can do better. we can avoid this kind of human and financial cost and as measured results of our current practice prove, we are doing so. poet maya angelou's words concisely describe utah's commitment to serve. do the best you can until you know better. then when you know better, do better. with research, social science discoveries and evidence of trauma in formed care, utah believes we can better serve the short and long-term interests of those in need of child welfare. supporting safe care for children in their homes without separating them from their family and foster care is less traumatic and less costly. additionally, multigenerations approach proves to be more effective in breaking cycles of dependence on prolonged, expensive government programs.
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the opportunity to apply for title 4-e waiver was ideal for utah. our demonstration project called homeworks was implemented in late 2013 and is being replicates statewide through this year. we're able to invest federal funds towards supports that have much greater value. not only to keeping children safe with their family, but also to the taxpayers receiving greater return on the dollar. for the average cost of serving one child in a foster care home for one year, we can serve 11 families through homeworks. and for the average cost of serving one child in a group kong congregate. while the humanitarian merits of investing to keep children safe with family make this approach essential. we worked recently with a family


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